Live Well Polk: Strength training is an important part of overall health

Don’t just focus on aerobics

Note: The following article was provided by Polk Medical Center Hospital Administrator Tifiani Kinard. Atrium Health Floyd is sponsoring Polk.Today content. – KtE

When most Americans think of cutting and fitness, they often think of aerobic exercise, running, walking, and other activities designed to get your heart and lungs pounding. Aerobic exercise is definitely good for you, but it’s also important that you include strength training in your workout routines.

It is important to lift weights and other forms of strength training, especially as you age. And you might be surprised that strength training is also sort of an aerobic exercise in itself. Your heart rate increases and your lungs have to work harder, just like your muscles.

Regardless of your age, you can weight training to reduce fat and increase your metabolism by up to 15%. Whether it’s using free weights, machines, isometries, bands, or your body for resistance, strength training increases conditioning, muscle strength, and endurance. It also relieves fatigue, stiffness, and depression for added benefits.

Regular weight training or strength training stimulates the body’s metabolism and helps burn calories. Additionally, weight lifting or strengthening exercises do the following to keep you healthy:

Build stronger bones and muscles
Lower blood pressure
Lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase “good” HDL cholesterol
Improve blood sugar control
Reduce belly fat
Lower triglycerides, a risk factor for heart disease
Strengthen the lungs for better breathing

Many of the misconceptions that people have about weight lifting are the result of confusion with weight training. Smart weightlifting can make you stronger, slimmer and slimmer without making you look bloated. It’s also not about being the strongest person in the world or towing a van with your own legs.

You can actually do weight training at home or at work. If that’s not your thing, you don’t need to work out in a gym or fitness center, while these are definitely good options. While working out with free weights and machines can help you lose weight, you can also incorporate the following strengthening ideas into your daily regimen:

Take a briefcase to and from work
Do push-ups using your body for resistance
Fill an empty milk jug with sand and use it to lift as a weight
Lift bags of cat or dog food in the pantry
Take the groceries out of the car and bring them back to the house
Use soup cans to make arm circles

If you’re able to build stronger muscles, you’ll likely be healthier overall, improve your mood, and feel better.

Weight lifting can be beneficial for people with the following conditions, in large part because exercise can boost your overall immune system:

Cardiac disease
Arterial hypertension

You might be wondering how best to improve your overall strength, using dumbbells, weight machines, and even exercise bands. There are a lot of different choices. Try them all and find what works for you.

There are several things you should do if you haven’t exercised regularly or are recovering from an illness or injury. You don’t want to hurt yourself trying to be healthier:

Consult your doctor before starting a regular exercise program, especially if you have a serious illness.
Make sure that whatever you do, you stay hydrated. If you think you have had enough, take another sip. Water is the best.
Try to get at least half an hour of exercise per day. It doesn’t have to be done all at once.
⦁ You may be in pain the day after your workout, which is not unusual. If you are worried about injuring yourself, rest and see your doctor.

If you decide to join a gym or fitness center, make sure you know what you need before signing up on the dotted line. Many people who make a New Year’s resolution often think that paying the cash to join a gym will motivate them to exercise regularly. This theory is understandable but rarely works.

The following tips may help you find the right gym or spa for you. Don’t rush into anything:

⦁ Most gyms offer a free pass for a few days. Don’t join the one who doesn’t.
⦁ Have someone show you how to use the equipment. It can prevent you from hurting yourself.
⦁ A personal trainer may be able to help you put together an exercise program that meets your specific needs. For example, if you have knee or back problems, there may be exercises and equipment that you can use, and others that you should avoid.
Start slowly with light weights.
⦁ Music can help make some workouts more enjoyable. Get some good exercise headphones.
⦁ Talk to the instructor if you are in a new class for the first time. They may be able to give you some tips if you are not sure whether you are exercising correctly, which could prevent injury.
Don’t worry if progress seems slow. Every time you go to the gym and workout, you are progressing towards better health.
⦁ A workout buddy is always a positive thing. They can give you words of encouragement and make the exercise more enjoyable.
Bring a water bottle and a sweating towel. Wear tennis shoes (not flip flops or sandals). Find out what the locker rules are so you can leave your valuables in a safe place.
If there is anything you are not sure about, ask.

Evelyn C. Tobin